World Library  
Flag as Inappropriate
Email this Article

Citizen's dividend

Article Id: WHEBN0000143015
Reproduction Date:

Title: Citizen's dividend  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Georgism, Agrarian Justice, Alaska Permanent Fund, Negative income tax, Land value tax
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Citizen's dividend

Thomas Paine was a major inspiration for this policy

Citizen's dividend or social dividend is a proposed policy based upon the principle that the natural world is the dividends) from revenue raised by leasing or taxing the monopoly of valuable land and other natural resources.


A concept akin to a citizen's dividend was known in Classical Athens. In 483 BC, a massive new seam of silver was found in the Athenian silver mines at Laurium.[1] This dispersal of this provoked great debate. The statesman Aristides proposed is should be distributed among the Athenian citizens.[2] However he was opposed by Themistocles, who proposed the money be spent building warships for the Athenian navy. In the end, Themistocles' policy was the one adopted.[2]

In the United Kingdom and United States, the idea can be traced back to Thomas Paine's essay, Agrarian Justice,[3] which is also considered one of the earliest proposals for a social security system. Thomas Paine summarized his view by stating that "Men did not make the earth. It is the value of the improvements only, and not the earth itself, that is individual property. Every proprietor owes to the community a ground rent for the land which he holds." Paine saw inheritance as being partly a common fund and wanted to supplement the citizen's dividend in a tax on inheritance transfers, but georgist supporters now focus on natural resources.

Implementations and proposals

This concept is a form of basic income guarantee, where the citizen's dividend depends upon the value of natural resources or what could be titled as common goods like location values, seignorage, the electromagnetic spectrum, the industrial use of air (CO_2 production), etc. [4]

The state of Alaska dispenses a form of citizen's dividend in its Permanent Fund dividend, which holds investments initially seeded by the state's revenue from mineral resources, particularly petroleum. In 2005, every eligible Alaskan resident (including children) received a check for $845.76. Over the 24-year history of the fund, it has paid out a total of $24,775.45 to every resident.[5] Alaska now has one of the lowest rates of inequality and relatively low levels of poverty compared to other US states. [6]

The concept is also promoted as a tool to reduce carbon emissions.[7] Peter Barnes created the concept of "Sky Trust" as an example of how this could be implemented.

Barnes states that a common trust could be set up to manage the funds, the trust would be separate from the private sector. [8] A calculation based on specific assets by Barnes estimates that American citizens could each get $5,000 per year by this model. [6] A Swiss campaign for a citizen’s income which could net each citizen an amount equivalent to $34,000 dollars.[6] A citizens dividend based on resources according to Thomas Pogge is due to every citizen because everyone owns an inalienable stake in all limited natural resources. [9]His theory goes along with Barnes with the exception of ownership, Pogge contends that the people own the resources. [10][4] The Progress Report says that the dividend should be valued by the free market. [11]

See also


  1. ^ Plutarch, Themistocles 4
  2. ^ a b Holland, pp. 219–222
  3. ^ "Agrarian Justice," Thomas Paine
  4. ^ a b
  5. ^
  6. ^ a b c
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^
  10. ^
  11. ^


  • Clive Lord. A Citizens’ Income. John Carpenter, 2003. ISBN 1-897766-87-4.
  • The Permanent Fund Dividend

External links

  • Alaska Permanent Fund Dividend
  • Citizen's Dividend
  • Wealth and Want
  • Citizen-ownership Democracy

This article was sourced from Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License; additional terms may apply. World Heritage Encyclopedia content is assembled from numerous content providers, Open Access Publishing, and in compliance with The Fair Access to Science and Technology Research Act (FASTR), Wikimedia Foundation, Inc., Public Library of Science, The Encyclopedia of Life, Open Book Publishers (OBP), PubMed, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Center for Biotechnology Information, U.S. National Library of Medicine, National Institutes of Health (NIH), U.S. Department of Health & Human Services, and, which sources content from all federal, state, local, tribal, and territorial government publication portals (.gov, .mil, .edu). Funding for and content contributors is made possible from the U.S. Congress, E-Government Act of 2002.
Crowd sourced content that is contributed to World Heritage Encyclopedia is peer reviewed and edited by our editorial staff to ensure quality scholarly research articles.
By using this site, you agree to the Terms of Use and Privacy Policy. World Heritage Encyclopedia™ is a registered trademark of the World Public Library Association, a non-profit organization.

Copyright © World Library Foundation. All rights reserved. eBooks from Project Gutenberg are sponsored by the World Library Foundation,
a 501c(4) Member's Support Non-Profit Organization, and is NOT affiliated with any governmental agency or department.